Class Discussion Notes from Nov. 16 (More on Cambodia)

French imperialism explains

  • Why everyone studied in France
  • There are a lot of Vietnamese Catholics

French Indochina (now Southeast Asia) (1884-1950’s)

  • Laos
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam


  • Japan occupied all of this area- Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere
  • Trying to kick out European Colonialism
    • French: Indochina
    • British: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya
    • Dutch: Indonesia
    • USA

Leader of Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh

Big battle the French lost in the 1950’s: Dien Bien Phu (famous in Vietnamese and French history- emblematic of the breakdown of French imperialism in the war)- an entire French division was surrounded by Vietnamese and were forced to surrender and the French lost several thousand men and they just super lost and were pushed out of Vietnam

The division between North and South Vietnam was supposed to be temporary but then South Vietnamese government built up and started to try and push back the referendum. They thought they’d become communist.

==> Late 1950’s- Vietnamese Nationalist party is the Viet Minh and the guerrilla-type opponent was the Viet Cong

Diem was the guy in charge

Vietnamese coup against other Vietnamese- US involvement increased. Peak was under Johnson and at its peak, it was a little more than 550,000 Americans trying to prop up the government.

Significance of the Tonkin-Gulf Resolution 1964-

  • Shots fired between North Vietnamese Coast Guard and US Navy
  • Presented to Congress as a Pearl-Harbor type thing
  • Sets stage for President taking action without consulting Congress
  • Politically allowed LBJ to take action against Vietnamese without declaring war

1973- Paris Peace Talks

  • Main American diplomat- Kissinger- famous for selling people down the river- vicious guy


  • Main leader- Pol Pot- kicked Prince Sihanouk out of power
  • Everything kind of collapses regionally, and the Khmer Rouge take power for about 3 years
  • Collectivized everything, got super extreme
  • Ended in 1979 when the Vietnamese army invaded, Khmer Rouge fled across the border and ended up in Siam (current-day Thailand) for about 30 years